|Publication number||US8029584 B2|
|Application number||US 12/133,055|
|Publication date||4 Oct 2011|
|Priority date||6 Jun 2007|
|Also published as||EP2164377A2, US8074671, US8211216, US20080302070, US20080302424, US20110284028, WO2008154274A2, WO2008154274A3|
|Publication number||12133055, 133055, US 8029584 B2, US 8029584B2, US-B2-8029584, US8029584 B2, US8029584B2|
|Inventors||Charles A. Castronovo|
|Original Assignee||Castronovo Charles A|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (102), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (6), Classifications (26), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Benefit is claimed of U.S. provisional application No. 60/942,362 filed Jun. 6, 2007.
The present invention generally relates to filters, especially to filters used in vacuum cleaners and other mechanical systems.
For vacuum cleaners, the state of the art is a conventional workshop vacuum, which is a sealed canister with a lid. The vacuum suction is provided by a vacuum motor unit, usually mounted through the lid. A foam filter sleeve is typically included on the suction inlet, around which there may be disposed a bag or filter element. Such workshop vacuums typically use a “Clean Impeller System,” in which the vacuum impeller (or “fan”) itself does not encounter dirt, because dirt is filtered from the air before the air reaches the impeller. An inlet for the hose is typically located on the side of the canister. The vacuum motor draws air and dirt into the canister via the inlet hose. The canister is at highly reduced pressure. Debris falls down in the canister. The canister may or may not be lined with a filter bag, which traps the vacuumed debris. Air goes through the filter or filter bag, then through the vacuum motor unit, and out into the ambient air. If a bypass feature is included, ambient air is used for motor cooling. The motor-cooling air is separate from the dirty air in a good workshop vacuum (such as in vacuum “head” units made by Ametek Corp., which are used in many brands of workshop vacuum units). The vacuum “head” unit is the critically important subassembly of a vacuum cleaner, composed primarily of a motor that drives an impeller. The impeller is enclosed within a carefully shaped impeller housing.
Such “clean impeller” systems often have custom-made filter bags which make emptying the canister neater, quicker, and easier. In this approach, the same canister is used as in the conventional workshop vacuum, with a same side nozzle. A large closed paper bag is deployed within the canister; viewed in laid out manner, the bag is rectangular, with a cardboard “collar” in the bag's middle through which the dirty air enters the bag. The collar hooks over the canister's interior projection of the hose nozzle and the canister is lined with the bag. The customer purchases the particular bag customized to the canister. Disadvantageously however, the user must replace the separately-purchased proprietary filter bags every time the vacuum unit was emptied. Conventional “clean impeller” workshop vacuum systems are relatively simple, cheap and reliable. However, disadvantageously, disposable, inexpensive plastic bag liners seemingly cannot practically be incorporated because 1) the bag must be penetrated with the nozzle which breaks the bag seal; and 2) when the workshop vacuum is turned on, a lightweight, inexpensive disposable plastic bag would collapse due to the vacuum inside the canister. Thus there would be nowhere for the dirt to accumulate inside the plastic bag.
Another category of vacuum cleaners is “Dirty Impeller Vacuum Systems.” Dirt and air are drawn directly into the impeller, and the canister is pressurized by the air-plus-dirt output of the impeller, in contrast to “clean” impeller systems. A vacuum impeller can be designed to deal directly with unfiltered, dirt-laden air by altering its blade and fan geometry, selecting appropriate blade materials, and sometimes also coating blades to prevent dirt from sticking to them. The system then pumps air and dirt together into the canister. Clean air is exhausted from the canister via elaborate filters, which get clogged. If the air filter is a filter bag, put over the top of the canister, the filter bag's pores get clogged. When the time comes to empty the canister, usually the bag needs replacing or cleaning.
Vacuum cleaner systems are used in a variety of applications. One application in which vacuum cleaner systems are used is in security destruction machines. Vacuum systems are used in some, but not all, conventional destruction machines. For example, in many conventional shredders, no vacuum is used and the shredded pieces are simply permitted to fall into a waste receptacle. Some high-security shredders do have vacuums, however.
One type of destruction machine is a “disintegrator” which is a certain category of larger destruction machines. A car-sized disintegrator known as Kobra Cyclone, made by Elcoman (Italy) collects waste in a pressurized plastic bag, which lines a large (100 gallon) canister.
An example of operation of a conventional shredder is use of a canister lined with a bag, with a lid on the canister, with a nozzle attached, and the filter bag clamped on, and deployed above the canister. Such structures are sometimes known as “bag houses” (when used in large industrial applications) and may be in an array. The bags in bag houses are all pressurized. Air and dust enter the bag houses through an entry port. The dust tends to fall into the container below the bags. The air comes out through the bags and gets filtered, while the dust stays below, and inside the canister or Bin. In some devices, the “bag house” is simply the cloth or paper bag itself, suspended above the collection canister or Bin. However, this conventional design suffers from the problem of the filter needing frequent cleaning, which requires stopping normal disintegrator operation to permit filter-cleaning. The finer the dust or dirt being filtered, the larger the filter must be, and the more often it needs cleaning.
In the course of inventing and constructing inventive shredders and other destruction machines, the present inventor found that conventional vacuum systems suffered from disadvantages and/or deficiencies such as the inability (in a truly practicable way, in spite of prior attempts in the art) to use an ordinary plastic bag to collect waste, requiring a custom filter bag to collect waste, and/or requiring cessation of vacuum operation (and therefore also destruction in security or non-security destruction machines) to accomplish filter-cleaning. Therefore he invented a self-cleaning filter system for use in a vacuum cleaner system especially useable with a destruction machine (such as, e.g., a paper shredder, information-security disintegrator, etc.) but not limited thereto.
With a self-cleaning filter system in which filtration need not be stopped while filter cleaning (e.g., back-flushing) is performed, the invention provides for storing filter-cleaning waste along with “normal” waste (e.g., the waste from vacuum-cleaning), with all of the stored waste stored together until emptying. Preferably the invention is applied in a vacuum cleaning application, but the invention is extendible to other applications.
In one preferred embodiment, the invention provides a vacuum cleaner comprising: at least one back-washable filter disposed in a back-washing system; a back-washing system which in operation back-washes the at least one back-washable filter, the back-washing system configured to be operable without cessation of a primary vacuum cleaning operation; and a capture system that captures waste cleaned from the filter, such as, e.g., an inventive vacuum cleaner including at least two back-washable filters; an inventive vacuum cleaner including: a clean vacuum system; and a plastic bag disposed in the vacuum cleaner; an inventive vacuum cleaner comprising a container that receives the captured waste (such as, e.g., an inventive vacuum cleaner wherein the container that receives the captured waste is pressurized, an inventive vacuum cleaner wherein the container that receives the captured waste is operated under vacuum; etc.); an inventive vacuum cleaner comprising an attachment port to which is attachable a plastic bag in which is received waste; an inventive vacuum cleaner comprising at least two back-washable filters; an inventive vacuum cleaner containing no backflush drain; an inventive vacuum cleaner comprising a pathway through which is routed waste cleaned from the filter to join routinely (i.e., regularly) vacuumed debris; an inventive vacuum cleaner comprising a self-cleaning valve assembly; and other inventive vacuum cleaners.
In another preferred embodiment, the invention provides a vacuum cleaner comprising: a clean-source vacuum system, a plastic bag disposed in the vacuum cleaner without a solid insert associated with the plastic bag, and at least one self-cleaning filter; such as, e.g., an inventive vacuum cleaner comprising a self-cleaning valve assembly; etc.
The invention in a further preferred embodiment provides a mechanical device comprising: at least two back-washable air flow filters (such as, e.g., filters configured to separate dust from airflow; filters that are “permanent”; etc.), the filters each having a structure to filter a primary fluid flow; a back-washing system which in operation back-washes a particular filter; and a capture system (such as, e.g., a capture system that includes no waste drain or backflush drain) that captures waste cleaned from the filter, the back-washing system configured such that while a particular filter is being back-washed, at least one filter is not being back-washed and is continuing to filter the primary fluid flow; such as, e.g., an inventive mechanical device having no waste drain connected to the mechanical device; an inventive mechanical device comprising a pressurized container in which is received captured waste; an inventive mechanical device disposed in a vacuum cleaner; an inventive mechanical device disposed in a car or vehicle; an inventive mechanical device disposed in an air conditioning system; an inventive mechanical device comprising an attachment port to which is attachable a plastic bag in which is received waste; an inventive mechanical device comprising a vacuum impeller or pump, wherein the vacuum impeller or pump may be in contact with dirt or not in contact with dirt; an inventive mechanical device comprising a pathway through which is routed waste cleaned from the filter to join waste from the primary fluid flow; an inventive mechanical device comprising a self-cleaning valve assembly; etc.
The invention in another preferred embodiment provides a vacuum cleaner waste collection structure comprising: at least one container (such as, e.g., a plastic bag, etc.) for receiving waste, the container being susceptible of forced inflation by application of a differential vacuum; and a source of the differential vacuum.
In another preferred embodiment, the invention provides a vacuum cleaner in which waste may be collected in a plastic bag or plastic bag-like container without needing an insert structure inside the plastic bag, comprising: a cage into which is received the bag or container, the cage comprising: (a) a membranous structure in at least some places where the bag or container contacts the cage; or (b) a structure such that a differential vacuum can be applied to keep the bag or container expanded.
The invention also in a further preferred embodiment provides a waste collection method, comprising: disposing a bag or container (such as, e.g., a plastic bag, etc.) within a cage that comprises a structure such that a differential vacuum can be applied to keep the bag or container expanded; applying a differential vacuum to keep the bag or container expanded; and collecting waste in the expanded bag or container; such as, e.g., an inventive waste collection method wherein the steps are performed in a vacuum cleaner; an inventive waste collection method further comprising a step of self-cleaning at least one back-flush filter; etc.
In another preferred embodiment, the invention provides a method in which a mechanical system containing at least a first filter (such as, e.g., a filter disposed in a vacuum cleaner, etc.) for a first Bin's air exhaust and a second filter (such as, e.g., a filter disposed in a vacuum cleaner, etc.) for a second Bin's air exhaust self-cleans the filters, comprising: back-washing each filter whereby a quantity of waste is cleaned therefrom; and capturing the quantity of waste cleaned from the filters (such as, e.g., a step of waste capturing that comprises collecting waste in a pressurized container; a step of waste capturing that comprises collecting waste in an evacuated container; etc.), wherein the mechanical system practices the back-washing and the waste capturing steps; the method including: self-cleaning waste from the filter associated with the first Bin's air exhaust and depositing waste cleaned from the filter associated with the first Bin into the second Bin, and further comprising self-cleaning waste from the filter associated with the second Bin and depositing waste cleaned from the filter associated with the second Bin into the first Bin; such as, e.g., an inventive method practiced without releasing any of the captured waste to an environment in which the mechanical system operates; an inventive method comprising subjecting the filter to airflow including dust, debris and/or particulate matter; an inventive method comprising subjecting the filter to a fluid comprising airflow and a quantity of a liquid; an inventive method comprising pressurizing a container which receives the quantity of waste cleaned from the filter; an inventive method comprising collecting waste from the capturing step in a plastic bag; an inventive method comprising back-washing a filter followed by capturing waste self-cleaned from the back-washing; an inventive method practiced in a vacuum cleaner and the filter back-washing step and/or the waste capturing step is performed without stopping the vacuum cleaner from continued operation in normal cleaning mode; an inventive method wherein no backflush draining is performed; an inventive method performed in a vacuum cleaner and that comprises routing the quantity of waste cleaned from the filter to join a quantity of vacuumed debris; an inventive method comprising the filter system continuing to filter during back-washing; etc.
In another preferred embodiment, the invention provides a valve structure, comprising: a self-cleaning valve assembly disposed in a vacuum cleaner.
Further in a preferred embodiment, the invention provides an X-valve assembly, comprising: an X-structure, a first vane including a rounded pivot end and a second vane including a rounded pivot end, wherein the rounded pivot end of the first vane is fixed into a first angle of the X-structure and the rounded pivot end of the second vane is fixed into a second angle of the X-structure, the second angle being opposite the first angle, and the first angle and the second angle being equal (such as, e.g., equal 60 degree angles). Each vane comprises a first flat port-closing edge for closing a port in the X-structure that opens into a space in a vicinity of a vacuum port; and a second flat port-closing edge for closing a port in the X-structure that opens into a space in a vicinity of an inlet through which dusty air enters; the first vane services a pair of such ports in the first angle; the second vane services a pair of such ports in the second angle.
In another preferred embodiment, the invention provides a self-cleaning valve system, comprising an X-valve system, preferably, a solids-handling valve which does not suffer from clogging. A “self-cleaning” valve refers to one that is self-clearing for dust and debris, such as via wiping action near a vane pivot and using a slight overlap of vane-to-port in order for the valve to be non-clogging and self-cleaning for dust and debris.
The invention in another preferred embodiment provides a method for a valve assembly (such as, e.g., an X-valve assembly) that comprises a vane servicing at least one port to clean itself of dust, the method comprising: moving the vane to a position different from a normal operating position of the vane and into a path of airflow moving in a direction that conducts a wiping action on at least the vane (such as, e.g., a wiping action near a pivot of the vane; a wiping action on the vane and on a region near the port serviced by the vane; etc.).
In another preferred embodiment the invention provides a valve assembly comprising: a V-shaped structure having a first wall and a second wall, the first wall having therein a first port and the second wall having therein a second port; a vane, the vane comprising: a curved end disposed into the V-shaped structure where the first wall and the second wall meet; a first flat edge sized to close the first port and a second flat edge sized to close the second port; wherein the vane is movably disposed into the V-shaped structure, with the vane pivoting between a first port-closed-position and a second-port-closed position, such as, e.g., an inventive valve assembly wherein the first wall and the second wall form a 60 degree angle; an inventive valve assembly comprising the V-shaped structure and a twin V-shaped structure formed in an X-shaped structure; etc.
The invention in a preferred embodiment may be appreciated with reference to
Examples of a vacuum source useable in an inventive vacuum cleaner are, e.g., a centrifugal impeller type vacuum fan; a positive-displacement vacuum or air pump; a bellows-type air pump; a scroll-type compressor or pump; etc.
Herein “a clean-source vacuum system” means and refers to one in which the air-vacuuming device does not contact vacuumed debris.
An example of accomplishing filter self-cleaning without stopping normal operation is, e.g., providing at least two filters each of which filter is associated with its own Bin, with one filter being back-flushable (i.e., back-washable) without stopping normal operation through the other filter, with the back-washed dirt from cleaning a first filter being sent into the second filter's Bin and, in due course, the back-washed dirt from cleaning the second filter being sent into the first filter's Bin. The at least two Bins may be the same size or of different sizes. Some examples of inventive self-cleaning vacuum systems are shown in
For switching between normal operation and respective cleaning operations, there may be used valves. Examples of valves to use are, e.g., a classic slide valve, a rotary valve, a sliding valve, a flapper valve, etc. Blocking and unblocking of the valves is accomplished via conventional manual, electromechanical, and/or automated actuators. The shape of the elements inside the valve is important to consider. Structures in which valve clogging can occur should be avoided. For example, in vacuum cleaner applications, a vane- (or flapper-) type valve may be used. The inventor favors an anti-clogging assembly in which materials which can clog the valve are kept away from the sealing parts of the valve. A slide valve probably also is feasible but is more expensive and may jam with dust more easily (especially at the sliding-component interfaces). Preferably the valve is operable via a conventional solenoid, pneumatic, hydraulic, or motor actuator. Alternately, but less preferably in many applications, manual handles could be used to operate the self-cleaning system and actuate the valves. These are only several examples and it should be appreciated that there are many ways to actuate the valves.
A preferred example of a valve to use is a self-cleaning valve, such as, e.g., a self-cleaning valve, preferably, a self-cleaning X-valve such as X-valve assembly 800 (
Examples of hardware and circuitry useable with an inventive vacuum system (e.g., a vacuum system according to
An inventive vacuum system may be operated via a circuit board. Preferably there is included an indicator, such as, e.g., an indicator light that signifies that actuation of the cleaning cycle is in progress. An example of a cleaning cycle is, e.g., a four second cleaning cycle. The indicator light signifies that the self-cleaning is operating. There may also be included an automated vacuum or Bin pressure measurement, or manual button as controls.
A feedback circuit may be connected to the vacuum. Vacuum may be measured in the hoses, with a connection to a sensor, and the vacuum motor is controlled to maintain a desired degree of vacuum suction for the specific application.
An example of a power source is, e.g., a 120 or 220-volt source.
Each valve actuator may be connected to electrically operate it.
The cleaning cycle may be actuated via operator determination by reading a pressure gauge. When the filter gets blocked, the canister pressure increases, therefore indicating necessity to clean the filter. Alternately, a timing cycle may be used, such as a timing cycle based on typical loads.
A spring may be included for making a weight-based measurement that a bin is “full.” This self-cleaning filter invention may be used in a variety of applications, including, e.g., applications serving a high load of debris per unit of total air plus debris volume (such as, e.g., greater than 50% of total volume). Conventionally high loads of debris per unit volume were handled with very large filters in order to avoid having to change the filter to clean the filter constantly. However, the present invention may be used to reduce the filter size used for a high load of debris per cubic inch. The invention makes possible a very small filter, comparatively speaking, for a given load of debris per unit volume. Therefore the invention also provides a method of reducing filter size compared to that which is filtered.
Another advantage of the invention is that in many embodiments the filter is permanent, or practically permanent.
The inventor meanwhile also was considering the problem of wanting a “clean impeller type” vacuum cleaner that ALSO could operate using only an ordinary plastic bag, without needing any custom-made collection bag. The inventor solved the problem of how to be able to use an ordinary disposable (and relatively impermeable) plastic bag inside a “clean impeller” type canister by applying vacuum to the interior of the plastic bag and by establishing a higher-intensity vacuum at the exterior of the plastic bag, thus keeping the plastic bag “inflated” or expanded by the pressure difference between the interior and exterior of the bag (see, e.g., Example 3 and
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a “clean impeller type” vacuum system is used with a disposable impermeable bag (e.g., a garbage bag, paper bag, etc.). Preferably, a plastic bag or other liner is used within a bin with at least one section of “open” (i.e, not dense or tightly woven) mesh (such as, e.g., a mesh cylindrical section; a mesh basket; a mesh cylindrical section with a detachable mesh floor; etc.) disposed between the exterior surface of the plastic bag and the interior surface of the bin. Most preferably, a plastic bag or other liner is used within a mesh-walled container (the container walls not being required to be all-mesh) which mesh-walled container is itself disposed within a canister. The mesh section allows trapped air between the plastic bag and the bin to be evacuated, thus permitting the plastic bag to fully expand into the bin space. A differential vacuum is established, such as by using the structure shown in
It should be appreciated that although advantageously the inventor provides for being able to use a plastic bag in embodiments of the invention, using a plastic bag is not required in all embodiments of the invention such as in non-vacuum-cleaner self-cleaning filter applications, no-liner vacuum cleaner self-cleaning filter applications, standard-liner vacuum cleaner self-cleaning filter applications, etc.
Some comparative examples are mentioned from which to better appreciate the invention, followed by some inventive examples (without the invention being limited to the examples below).
In this conventional vacuum cleaner system is used a filter-duty paper, box-style bag with an aperture (commonly in the industry called a “collar”) fitted to conform to a nozzle, and a separate filter element for the vacuum source.
Trying to modify Comparative Example 1 by replacing the filter-duty paper, box-style bag with a plastic bag fails because the bag will simply collapse, and also will not pass air through to the vacuum source.
A conventional high-security disintegrator has attached thereto a vacuum system using a dirty impeller, a Bin and a filter. Waste is collected in a disposable bag.
The inventor constructed a structure for commercial use in a destruction machine.
Cleaning Cycle for Bin 3A:
As shown in
Dirty (filter-cleaning) air from bin 3A exits bin 3A and travels through pipe 98A to inlet of vacuum pump 2. Meanwhile inlet 1 ALSO continues to take in dirty air from the outside dirty air source. (In pipe 98B, there is NO air flow during this cleaning operation of Filter 3A.) Thus, pump 2 is pumping dirty air from BOTH the original source of dirty air and the filter-cleaning dirty air from Bin 3A.
Bin 3B continues to receive the combined dirty air from pump 2, and also continues to exhaust clean air through its filter 5B.
At the end of the cycle, Valve 9A returns to its normal position, and both bins 3A, 3B and filters 5A, 5B operate normally.
Cleaning Cycle for Bin 3B:
Cleaning filter 5B is accomplished using the above principles for the cleaning of filter 5A, by shifting Valve 9B to the left. Thus Bin 3B's dirty filter 5B is backwashed into Bin 3A. At the end of the cycle, Valve 9B returns to its normal position, and both bins 3A, 3B and filters 5A, 5B operate normally.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that the two Bins in any of the inventive examples herein could also be simply two separate chambers within the same structure.
(For an example like Inventive Example 1 but using a bonnet and a mesh, see Inventive Example 3)
VacA occurs at the vacuum motor's suction inlet. It is the most intense vacuum.
VacB occurs at T-junction above valves 9A, 9B (
VacC is the normal vacuum level occurring in the bins. It is less intense than vacB,
VacD occurs at dust inlet 1 in
In a destruction machine embodying a vacuum system 100 according to
Again referring to
The above principles for cleaning filter 55A likewise may be applied to clean filter 55B.
The system of
In this inventive Example 2, a clean vacuum source is used with an evacuated Bin, which Bin must be sufficiently rigid to stand up to the vacuum, and thus maintain its shape. The vacuum forces are significant. The total force on the areas of the filter and Bin may be in the hundreds of pounds while pressurized at only ½ pound per square inch. Therefore round Bins are advantageously used to withstand the crushing forces. Typical operations are with 28 inches of water which is about 1 psi. If a filter area is 16 inches in diameter (i.e., radius=8 inches), this translates to 201 square inches. If 1 psi is applied, that means 202 pounds total force is applied on the lid alone. Therefore robust Bins are needed with either pressure or vacuum-applied directly to the Bins. Please note, however, that ordinary low-cost plastic-molded shop vacuum canisters routinely withstand such forces.
Referring to the inventive system 200 in
In system 200 (
The Bin 3A in
CLEANING CYCLE for Filter 5A: With reference to
In order to clean filter 5B, the above principles for cleaning filter 5A likewise may be applied: Valve 9A is left in its normal-operating (leftmost) position, and Valve 9B is moved left, so as to flush Bin 3B's cleaning air (via the pump 2) into Bin 3A. At the end of this cleaning cycle for Bin 3B's filter, valve 9B returns to its normal-operating (rightmost) position.
A vacuum system 200 according to this example 2 could be used, for example, with a destruction machine.
An inexpensive, but greatly improved workshop-type vacuum cleaner could be constructed according to this invention by dividing the volume of the usually-provided single chamber into two separate chambers, each topped by its own internally molded bonnet. A suitable and inexpensive manually operated valve could be provided with an actuating handle atop the unit to actuate the cleaning cycle as necessary.
In this “clean-impeller” example, a disposable bag is provided inside a canister as shown in
A) Bins 3A, 3B are each lined with an inexpensive disposable plastic bag PB.
B) Bins 3A, 3B are equipped with respective “open-style” mesh liners 51A, 51B. Each mesh liner 51A, 51B is rigid and is disposed between the plastic bag PB and the respective bin 30A, 30B, to help the vacuum keep the plastic bag PB against the respective bin 30A, 30B. A mesh liner 51A, 51B comprises, e.g., foam, fiberglass, etc., or other materials with enough rigidity to maintain shape but permit air to pass easily. The mesh liners 51A, 51B in
C) Bins 3A, 3B are equipped with bag-inflation pipes 30A, 30B to cooperate with the mesh liners 51A, 51B. Evacuation of air through bag-inflation pipes 30A, 30B causes plastic bags PB to stay inflated during normal vacuuming operation.
Vacuum levels within this system are as follows:
VacA occurs at vacuum motor's suction inlet. It is the most intense vacuum.
VacB occurs at T-junction above the valves 99A, 99B (
VacC is the normal vacuum level occurring in the bins. It is less intense than vacB.
VacD occurs at dust inlet 31 in
The bag-inflation pipes 30A, 30B (
Two seal points are shown in
The bonnet 32A has a connection 33A (larger pipe) to VACC to cause the filtered air that has exited from bin 3A and has passed through filter 35A to travel through pump 2 and to be evacuated from the system 300 via exhaust port 321. Within the vacuum pump 2, the vacuum level at the suction side is vacA which is a relative maximum vacuum amount for the system 300, vacA=vacmax. Near the vacuum pump 2 where filtered air from both of filters 35A and 35B is traveling into the vacuum pump 2, the vacuum level vacB is somewhat less than vacmax.
The purpose of the extension ring 39A is to avoid penetrating the plastic bag PB's wall with the inlet 311.
It is considered necessary to force each plastic bag PB to stay expanded. The structure in
The cylindrical volume between the Bin 3A or 3B's wall and its plastic bag PB is occupied by the mesh 51A or 51B to provide an evenly distributed area of suction between the inside wall of the Bin 3A or 3B and the outside wall of the plastic bag PB.
In normal vacuuming operation (
CLEANING CYCLE OF FILTER 35A: With reference to
It will be appreciated that filter 35B may be self-cleaned by applying the principles shown in
An inexpensive inventive workshop-type, “clean-impeller” vacuum cleaner is constructed by dividing the volume of what in the conventional workshop-type vacuum cleaner is a single chamber into two separate chambers (such as bins 3A, 3B in
The system in
The incorporation of valve 499 makes the use of a very small “auxiliary” filter 45B more practicable. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that all three of these simple valve structures 499A, 499, 499B could be integrated into a simple and inexpensive valve assembly.
CLEANING CYCLE: Referring to
Because the airflow through filter 45A is now reversed in
Meanwhile, the middle valve 499 (illustrated here as a butterfly or flapper valve but without the invention or this example being limited to such valves) has opened a passage for pressurized dirty air (from Bin 3A's filter 45A and also from the main dust and suction inlet 41) to flow into bin 33B. Thus bin 3A's filter 45A is cleaned into bin 33B. In
To clean filter 45B of bin 33B, the scheme of
In this inventive example, bin 33B's whole purpose is to clean bin 3A's filter 45A. Because bin 33B is not intended to be a waste-collection bin, bin 33B can be made greatly smaller than bin 3A. The self-cleaning of bin 3A, 33B is inventive. The concept of this example in which bin 33B is smaller may be applied to above Examples 1-3, that is, in those examples, too, one bin could be smaller than the other bin.
The vacuum system 400 of this example may be used, e.g., in a grubby commercial environment such as where a workshop vacuum is used. Vacuum system 400 also can be miniaturized, and also integrated into a single compact unit.
Although the invention does not in every embodiment require the use of a plastic bag, advantageously the invention may be practiced in a vacuum cleaner application using an ordinary plastic bag PB (
A vacuum cleaner may be operated using an ordinary plastic bag to collect waste according to any of
A vacuum cleaner is constructed in the manner of Example 5, with the further refinement of molding the open-mesh structure into the bin during original forming, molding, or manufacture of the bin itself. This mesh could be as simple as molding a multitude of tiny projections or ventilated ribs on the bin interior walls, each projection or rib facing towards the central axis of the bin.
A conventional 6-gallon vacuum cleaner requires a relatively big bag to act both as filter and disposal bag; this is due in large part to the loss of filter area that occurs as the bag fills and piled-up debris prevents air passage to the bag walls; the bag must normally be constructed of filtration paper, which is more costly than thin plastic.
Because the inventive filter(s) are self-cleaned as necessary, and are not blocked by debris piled up against them, the filtration area required is greatly reduced, and thus the overall filter expense is greatly reduced by using the invention.
In a conventional shop-type vacuum unit, the filter area has to be large enough to allow operation without clogging (further exacerbated by debris pile-up) until the bag is full. Further, in conventional units, the entire bag must be made of filter material and filter cost is thus much greater in conventional units.
To solve these problems and disadvantages associated with conventional systems, the inventor has constructed an inventive system such that 4-5 times as many square inches of total bag area are needed for a conventional vacuum cleaner compared to the inventive 15-gallon system that he built.
A conventional 6-gallon vacuum cleaner's bag cannot really hold six gallons, because the bag would so tightly fill the space within the canister as to be almost impossible to remove without breakage. Further, the bag cannot EVER be completely filled, regardless of size, because it will gradually lose filter area as it is filled. When it is 100% filled, it will have ZERO free filter area remaining. There would then be almost no air flow, and thus no vacuuming action. At 75% or so of available volume capacity, a conventional system is full.
In contrast, the inventive systems described herein allow for filling right up to the filter membrane, before air flow is blocked by debris. The resulting 6-gallon vacuum really holds 6 gallons, not the 4.5 gallons or so of a conventional 6-gallon vacuum.
The inventor defines a relative filter size in terms of filter area required per cubic foot of filtered volume. A conventional sanding machine filter has a filter area per cubic foot of filter volume in an amount of 100 filter area units/waste gallon compared to 10 filter area units/waste gallon for an inventive filter (because the inventive filter can be repeatedly cleaned as necessary without stopping vacuuming operations).
A conventional shop-type vacuum uses disposable filter bags or filter elements in at least two ways:
In both of these conventional cases, the filter bag or filter element is a consumable item, which must be routinely replaced, resulting in a considerable long-term cost-of-ownership. (In some cases a foam-type filter element can be washed, but must still be covered with a disposable filter bag.)
In contrast, the inventive systems described herein use a permanent filter material, which can be re-used indefinitely. This improvement to the art results in a considerable reduction in the long-term cost-of-ownership.
A conventional paper filter or filter bag is usually destroyed (torn or disintegrated) by exposure to water, especially if the vacuum unit is actually operating at time of exposure. Advantageously, the inventive filter is not damaged if accidentally exposed to vacuumed water because it uses a fabric material that tolerates water. The fabric is actually washable.
In inventive vacuuming systems such as, e.g., system 106 (
The X-structure 801 was constructed by the inventor and was not previously commercially available. An X-plate 1101 is shown laid out in flat in
In the X-valve assembly 800 (
Inlet plenum 809 (
Shell 806 (
The vane 62A is actuated from its zero-degree position (
The vane 62A is further actuated and
Vane 62A is further actuated and
The vane 62A (
Rubber seals can be added to the vanes 62A, 62B, but if the X-valve assembly 800 is carefully constructed, leakage is negligible and can usually be ignored, at least in normal dust-handling applications). Vanes 62A, 62B can be spring-returned or actuator-forced back to a normal operating position. In the inventive models constructed, it has been found that the simplest and most economical construction is to make the vanes just a tiny amount larger than their respective ports, so that debris cannot block the vane from closing against the port. Rather, debris is simply brushed aside or slightly displaced by the closing vane, thus making for an effective but debris-tolerant closure that does not jam or cause the vane to stick partially open.
The vane 62A, 62B is held closed just by the operating vacuum level, and uses a very-low-force return spring to help start the vane 62A, 62B moving towards a closed position, where the vacuum force then completes the closing action. Therefore only relatively weak vacuum forces need be overcome to open the vane 62A, 62B. Thus a small, low-force, inexpensive solenoid can be used to actuate each vane 62A, 62B. Alternately, the vacuum source itself can be used to operate the vane 62A, 62B using a bellows actuator and a very small manual or electrically-operated pilot valve to control the bellows.
Examples of vane that maybe used as vane 62A, 62B may be of any suitable plastic or metal material. The vane geometry is simple and easily fabricated out of nylon, aluminum, etc. An example of a vane useable as the vane 62A, 62B is vane 1062 (
The X-valve assembly and its components can be easily scaled for the intended application. In the example depicted herein, using a small (800 watt) vacuum motor and 5″ impeller system, the X-valve system can easily handle about 200 lbs. of finely shredded paper and paper dust per hour. With higher vacuum power, it could easily handle double that volume per hour.
The inventive examples herein show X-plates and vanes configured together so as to achieve the desired overall system valve action (selecting one of two flow paths for two separate valve units) with the most economical number of parts, the simplest manifolding of fluid pathways, and greatest mechanical simplicity. This simplicity itself is inventive.
However, those practiced in the art will appreciate that the X-plates (
In a configuration using a single “X-plate”, two ports could be spaced so that one vane could selectively do any of the following:
1) open port A while closing port B,
2) open both ports (vane somewhere between closing either port)
3) open port B while closing port A.
In addition, a single “X-plate” might have several ports cut out of it, and several vanes might be appropriately mounted to open and close the ports.
Further, there is no requirement for an X-valve that configures the “X” at 60 degrees or any other specific angle. The “X” can be at any practicable angle that permits a vane to be mounted in and appropriate configuration to cooperate with the port(s) to perform the valve function.
This system can easily be adapted to handle liquids and slurries.
While the invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||55/283, 251/212, 55/287, 55/284, 55/DIG.3, 55/302|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T137/4273, B01D46/0058, Y10T137/043, B01D2279/55, B01D46/02, B01D46/0068, Y10T137/4336, A47L9/1418, A47L9/1427, B01D46/42, A47L9/20, Y10S55/03|
|European Classification||A47L9/14D, B01D46/02, B01D46/00R40A, A47L9/14C, B01D46/00R10, A47L9/20, B01D46/42|
|22 Apr 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|22 Apr 2015||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|